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Full text of "The Gay Genius"

ENGINEERING AND FAMINE RELIEF            265

there were no better-known and more generous scholars than you two
Su brothers, and I decided to make use oŁ your names. In case I was
caught you would understand and let me off easily. I crave your pardon
-*-! will not do it again."

Su Tungpo smiled and asked the clerk to tear off the old label and
write a new one bearing the same address and sender's name. In addi-
tion, he wrote a note to Tseyu and, handing it to the trembling scholar,
he said: "Uncle, this time you are safe, even if you are brought up
before the Emperor himself. When you pass the examinations next
year, don't forget me."

The poor old scholar was overwhelmed and thanked him heartily.

He passed the examinations successfully, and when he returned, he

'wrote a letter expressing his profound gratitude to the poet. Su Tungpo

was so delighted with this episode that he entertained him at his house

for several days.

' Su also did something for the support of the college students. Such
acts endeared Su Tungpo to the populace. There were many things
wrong with the city of Hangchow. The government buildings were
very old. The soldiers were living in leaky barracks. The arms depot
was in a dilapidated condition. The roofs of the gate towers revealed
glimpses of the sky. These were all buildings over a hundred years
?ld, built by the great kings of the family of Chien, who had main-
tained peace and governed the country justly in the first half of the
tenth century, when all the rest of China was in turmoil. They were
popular kings and they had earned the undying gratitude of the people
of the south-east because, when the founder of the present dynasty had
conquered all parts of China except the south-east, the king had volun-
tarily surrendered his power to the emperor for peace and unity and
thus had saved the people much unnecessary bloodshed. The preceding
governors had built new residences for themselves, such as the Chungho
Hall and the Yumei Hall, and left the old buildings alone. In Su
Tungpo's time two men were killed when a building colkpsed, and a
family of four persons was buried when another tower fell in., Still
making use of his special connections with the Empress, Su Tungpo
asked for a grant of $40,000 to repair the official buildings, the city
gates, the towers, and die granaries, twenty-seven in all.

Hangchow was a city with half a million population and without a
single public hospital. Situated at the mouth of the Chientang River,
where travellers by sea and land converged, it was subject to frequent
epidemics. There were certain medical recipes that were oŁ proved
value. While he was serving at Michow, Su Tungpo had ordered the
more useful prescriptions copied out by hand in large characters and
posted as magistrate's bulletins in the squares of the town to make
them better known to the common people. There was one particular